What are your child’s options for “completing” high school? You have choices!
If your child wants a career that requires a college degree, you can:
- Have your child to earn a high school diploma, whether accredited or not,
- Homeschool your child through high school, then create your own transcript and a portfolio, or
- Have your child take the G.E.D. to prove he has reached the necessary level of educational competence.
If you choose the first option, you will find homeschoolers who don’t feel an accredited diploma is ‘necessary’, and it is not ‘necessary’. However having an accredited diploma can help your child. For a child with a specific learning disability, an accredited diploma can add credibility to their high school studies, but there will likely be hoops you have to jump through to get necessary accommodations. Here’s a key point: IF you are going to use a virtual or correspondence high school program anyway, you might as well use an accredited program.
If you choose to use an accredited program, there are accredited ‘oversight’ or distance education programs, hybrid homeschool programs and academies, and an increasing number of virtual high schools. I have collected resources regarding these types of opportunities and have a link to the resources at the bottom of this page.
Either way, if you homeschool your child and he intends to go to college, you will need a transcript. Most accredited programs will prepare a transcript for your child, but if you choose an independent route, I recommend Lee Binz’s Total Transcript Solution to help with everything you need to know about creating a great transcript for your child. Lee is a well-known, successful homeschooling mom who has been there and has helped her kids get into college.
In deciding between a virtual school or a correspondence school, consider your child’s individual learning needs. Some of the virtual schools are more favorable towards students who struggle than others. In particular, look for programs that permit a child to work at his own pace. You might want to inquire about timed tests as well because some exams given on the computer might be timed. IF you choose a correspondence school, your child can complete the exams with an open book in his own time. This can be a necessary accommodation for some students, easily provided at home through the correspondence school.
If you want to go with the second option and create your child’s own homeschool program, you can simply select curriculum that meets his needs and the entrance requirements for your target college(s). If you use this route, you will need to create a transcript for your child. A transcript is simply a professional looking report which includes your child’s name, address, phone number, birthdate, date of graduation, a list of classes completed, and grades. You don’t have to tediously assess and track grades throughout high school. You can simply provide grades as your best estimate, or personal opinion, of the level of work completed by your child. Do try to be objective in assigning grades.
A portfolio, in addition to a transcript, can be used to help you share your child’s activities, work experiences, volunteer efforts, and achievements. Simple portfolios can be just as effective, and possibly more effective, than complex portfolios with an overabundance of information. Put as much as you want into your child’s portfolio, but don’t feel like you have to put everything your child ever did in there.
The third option, the G.E.D., is a good, quick means of closing out your child’s high school career. If your child is 16 or older, and not attending high school, he may take the G.E.D. When your child has completed his high school studies, indicate that all necessary work has been completed on the G.E.D. form. When your child takes the G.E.D. and passes, he will have fulfilled the requirement of having a high school diploma or the G.E.D. for college entrance purposes.
The biggest key in preparing your child for college is to insure he has the necessary foundation for completing college-level course work. For if your child gets into college, but isn’t capable of completeing the work, then going to college will be a waste of time and money. It would be better to spend an extra year or two in study to insure success in college.
Additionally, you may have to deal with other learning issues. When children hit their teens, particularly children who have struggled with learning for years, they may become more reluctant to engage in school work. Your child may not even be interested in college by time he reaches high school. If your child is becoming an increasingly reluctant learner, you may want to consider a program to help him see better results with less effort.
I have put this piece the High School section, because I think this program is best considered as an alternative when a child seeks to avoid work. The Lazy Student’s Guide to Success is an eBook which can help your child develop brain skills for learning more with less effort. Since high school students who’ve struggled with learning sometimes seek to do as little work as possible, this is a program they will like. The Lazy Student’s Guide to Success will help your child learn more through effective learning techniques. The information can help your child throughout high school and through college by teaching them to maximize their work effort.
After considering the options for your child’s high school years, you will need to seek out specific programs to help you teach your child effectively. The following pages contain listings of many programs for meeting your child’s high school homeschool needs at home.
Accredited Oversight & Distance Education Programs:
Oversight programs allow you to homeschool your child while submitting evidence of work completion to a company who will ‘certify’ your child’s progress. When your child has finished the entire course of study, the company will issue an accredited diploma and handle transcripts for your child’s college application.
Virtual High Schools are increasing in number and almost every state has a virtual high school of some sort. Some of the schools only offer select courses for advanced placement, restrict eligibility, or have other limitations. Many states are forming Virtual High Schools which are able to grant full diplomas. There are also a great number of independent virtual high schools. Some of the virtual high schools operate similarly to a traditional high school, using textbooks, deadlines for assignments, exams, etc. Others allow students to begin a course at any time, work at their own speed, and provide interactive online tools for learning. You will want to carefully consider the program being offered to make sure it is a good fit for your child’s unique needs. I have listed many schools with limited programs because I believe schools will expand offerings and the number of programs offering complete degree programs will increase. Thus, listing every school I can find provides you with the widest possible selection. As I learn of a new school, I add its information, and am linking to the sites on an ongoing basis.
After your student is moving along with high school, you may want to start looking at An Ultimate Guide to Scholarships because many scholarships are solely for high school juniors or seniors, and you won’t want to miss out on those opportunities.